For more than three decades, two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks has been a mainstay in movies as well as television, creating a series of iconic roles among his equally iconic films. For almost as long, Hanks and his second wife Rita Wilson have enjoyed a happy marriage, adding two children along the way. The 59-year-old Hanks, who had been married to Samantha Lewes for nine years until their 1987 divorce, got married to Wilson on April 30, 1988.
During that 27-year period, a length that’s considered a rarity in the high-pressure world of acting, the couple has experienced the usual ups and downs that come with marriage. Speaking about the reason for such longevity, Hanks explained at the Outfest Legacy Awards in Los Angeles on November 5 that the couple got married for all the right reasons. He also indicated that among their friends, the couple likely has the shortest marriage. Looking back on the origins of his relationship with the now-58-year-old Wilson, who first appeared together on his early 1980’s television series, “Bosom Buddies,” Hanks said that he felt an immediate connection with her.
However, trying to pinpoint exactly why the connection has remained strong proved to be elusive, with Hanks saying that simply liking the person was the first step toward establishing a long-term relationship. Joking that it still surprises him that Wilson chooses to go out into public him, Hanks did say that nobody should get married before the age of 30. That specific age is relevant in Hanks case, given that he got married to Lewes at the age of 22 and was divorced at the age of 31. She died of cancer in 2001, with the couple having two children during that period. Cancer entered Wilson’s life in a dramatic way this past April, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy.
Originally, she was told that no such cancer existed, but uncertainty on her part caused her to get a second opinion, which confirmed her fears. Though she didn’t have to undergo chemotherapy after the surgery, Wilson did experience exhaustion as a result of her treatment. In addition, she’s currently wearing a tissue expander, which is an early step toward reconstructive surgery. The awkward feel of the device means that she’s unable to wear a standard bra.
However, throughout all of this, Hanks has been supportive and by Wilson’s side both before and after the procedure. She indicated that there’s always uncertainty in these type of cases, since some husbands have left their wives because of an inability to deal with the disfigurement. That didn’t happen in this case, with Hanks watching a host of movies during her recovery period. In addition, neighbors in her Manhattan apartment provided a variety of gifts, including such things as candy and flowers, while he couple’s four children also came to visit. Wilson was co-starring with Larry David in the Broadway play, “Fish in the Dark,” at the time of her diagnosis. Her surgery and recovery period caused her to miss a month of performances, but she has since returned for the play, which will run until next July.
Like her neighbors, the show’s cast also was very attentive to her, through visits and even more gifts. Hanks soon left for Italy to make a movie, but made sure to speak with Wilson on a regular basis. That continued communication, along with support during the recent rough period serve as key reasons why the Hanks-Wilson marriage continues to be a strong one.